Inland Rail set to boost economy by $22.5 billion

THE Inland Rail project is one step closer to completion with the Australian Government releasing the delivery plan.

The inland railway between Melbourne and Brisbane will run via central-west NSW and Toowoomba.

The delivery plan, written by former deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, outlines a 10-year construction timeframe to complete the 1700km project and puts the cost at $10 billion.

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the plan indicated Inland Rail would generate economic benefits of about $22.5 billion.

"The project will create up to 16,000 direct jobs during a 10-year construction period and a regular 600 jobs once operating," he said.

"Importantly, the implementation group has identified that an early commitment to Inland Rail will give certainty for businesses and will allow the private sector to invest in complementary projects leveraging Inland Rail's enhanced logistics benefits."

Mr Truss also said Inland Rail would remove 200,000 trucks from roads each year.

"The new freight line will reduce transit time between Melbourne and Brisbane by more than 10 hours, reducing the journey to less than a day," he said.

"For the first time, south east Queensland will connect by rail to Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, avoiding the need for freight to transit through the congested Sydney network."

Australasian Railway Association chairman Bob Herbert said the plan was an important step for the infrastructure project.

"The efficient movement of freight in Australia is crucial for our domestic economy and our ability to compete in international markets," he said.

"This project will serve Australia well as rail is the most efficient, environmentally friendly, safe and cost effective mode of land transport."

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